North America’s Largest Landpower Exposition and Professional Development Forum
By Paul Evancoe
The annual AUSA meeting and exposition was held October 8-10, 2018, at the Washington, DC, Walter E. Washington Convention Center where the latest defense technology was displayed and explained. In contrast to last year’s expo, there was a noticeable lack of uniformed officers and senior civilian Program Office and Program Management persons in attendance. Notwithstanding, the expo provided numerous enlightening advances in weaponry, sensors, communications, tactical kit and information management. This article reflects a sampling of the highlights.
Weaponry, Sights, Target Designation
Lewis Machine & Tool (LMT) is a proud Milan, Illinois-based innovator and manufacturer of numerous military firearms and related accessories. One of its most recent innovations is a pistol-like 40mm grenade launcher nicknamed the “Shorty 40.” Formally designated nomenclature as the L2XPG, the Shorty 40 can be further customized with various clip-on stocks and rail-mounted sights as a member of the LMT Shorty 40 Caliber Series 40mm grenade launcher system. This jewel of engineering has a 6.5-inch barrel with a pistol grip frame offering the shortest and lightest grenade launcher available today. Capable of being operated as its own weapon system or rail-mounted, it can be easily stowed in a ruck pocket or slung for quick access. It operates, loads and unloads like a standard M-203 requiring virtually no operator training. Designed for both law enforcement and military purposes, the Shorty 40 is a weapon that can be relied upon when 40mm standoff capabilities are crucial to winning the fight.
Manufactured in their facility located just outside Reno, NV, U.S. Ordnance’s M60E6 7.62mm Light Machine Gun is in full production and available. The Danish Military and other U.S. State Department-approved customers have adopted it as their general-purpose machine gun. Its allure over the M-240 is part nostalgia and part operational superiority. Weighing in at just over 20 pounds, the M60E6 is considered to possess better weight distribution than the M-240. This translates to better control of alternative shot positions when kneeling or standing. Its rate of fire is 550 rounds per minute, which improves short burst shooter accuracy, reduces ammunition consumption and significantly minimizes the risk of stray fire collateral damage. It further offers a single-shot capability with superb long-range aimed accuracy. Its quick-change barrel requires neither the use of gloves nor any timing adjustment and takes only a few seconds to accomplish. It abounds with standard Picatinny rails that allow for the addition of accessories such as optical sights, tactical lights, lasers, etc.
B.E. Meyers, located in Redmond, WA, has developed a .50 caliber heavy machine gun flash suppressor that actually works—designated the M2A1F. Flash is the result of hot, high velocity, combustible propellant gas igniting as it becomes oxygen-enriched when it exits the muzzle. As it mixes with the surrounding air, it ignites and burns, causing muzzle flash. Most flash suppressors simply divert these combustible gases in divergent directions away from the muzzle, resulting in several smaller flashes instead of one large flash. The M2A1F is uniquely designed with teeth lining the inside of the flash suppressor’s four prongs. The teeth effectively shred the exiting high velocity propellant gas, causing it to slow into numerous micro-vortexes and thus cool. As the vortexes become oxygen-enriched, they’re below the flash point and no flash—it’s darn near rocket science (we miss you, Brad).
Aimpoint, with U.S. headquarters in Manassas, VA, has a rock-solid track record designing and manufacturing superb red dot sighting systems that goes back to 1973. Aimpoint now offers its advanced design ACRO-P1 fully enclosed reflex pistol reflex sight to its product line. This red dot 3.5 MOA sight advertises an ultra-clear NVG-compatible (Pos. 1-4) sight picture for extremely fast target acquisition. Its sealed optical channel is impervious to all operational environments (submersible to a depth of 82 feet), and the CR1225 battery that powers it is replaceable without having to remove the optic from its mounted location. The ACRO-P1’s compact size (1.9×1.2×1.2 inches) and weight (2.1 ounces) make it the pistol shooter’s reflex sight of choice.
Manufactured in the U.S. by Wilcox Industries of Newington, NH, Wilcox presented its next generation RAID-X (ruggedized aiming/illumination device). Powered by a single CR123 battery, RAID-X features a visible red laser, infrared (IR) laser and variable IR illuminator all co-aligned with a single windage and elevation adjustment. RAID-X possesses an ergonomically located focus wheel that provides on-the-fly selection of three IR illuminator power modes (low, medium and high) to quickly adjust laser power intensity settings to best meet distance and environmental requirements. RAID-X also has a remote port that accepts the SureFire SR-D-IT switch for remote on/off operation. RAID-X is a light and compact device that mounts with two thumbscrews on any standard 1913 Picatinny rail without interfering with iron sights or optics. RAID-X is offered with either a red or green visible laser and in tan or black body.
Team Wendy, located in Cleveland, Ohio, manufactures its helmets and helmet visors in the U.S. As the sole-source Army and Marine Corps supplier of the standard issue 7-pad combat helmet liner system, Team Wendy has developed a registered trademark line under the name EXFIL that includes an SL lightweight ballistic helmet, an SL helmet-compatible ballistic visor, face shield and ear covers. The new SL helmet system is NVG- and lanyard-compatible and offers adjustable pads for customized fit to any head dimension. Both the SL helmet and face shield exceed military impact and fragmentation requirements. This system is no less than all around impressive and lends itself to the old saying, “if you have a cheap head, wear a cheap helmet.” If you value your head and face, wear an EXFIL Ballistic SL helmet and face shield.
Qioptiq, an Excelitas Technologies Company, is a premiere world-class designer and manufacturer of infrared, image-intensified and fused night vision equipment. Its DRAGON COMPACT (DRAGON C) ultra-light multi-purpose thermal weapon sight is one of the company’s most advanced systems, utilizing uncooled thermal cameras and state-of-the-art optical technology. The DRAGON C can be used as a weapon-mount compact sight or in a handheld mode for observation and surveillance. This ergonomically simple-to-use in-line thermal sight provides exceptional bore sight stability in an ultra-low weight system. It is available with a non-ITAR thermal camera. It has optional features that include a laser pointer, remote control and interface cables for connectivity to RS232 comms (serial comms), video out and auxiliary external power source. Its optional accessories include shrouds to interface with various day scopes, weapon mounting bracket, lens cap, neck strap and carrying pouch.
Leupold & Stevens, Inc. of Beaverton, OR, was founded more than a century ago. As a fifth-generation, family-owned company, it designs, machines and assembles its entire product lines, which include rifle, handgun and spotting scopes; binoculars; rangefinders; mounting systems; and optical tools and accessories in the USA. Leupold now offers its new Mark 5 scope in two models. The 5-25×56 model is designed for shooters seeking maximum usable magnification, while the 3.6-18×44 version balances compactness with unparalleled optical performance. Both models are ruggedly constructed and feature a mammoth 35mm main tube that delivers extreme low-light performance and superior edge-to-edge clarity. The Twilight Max® HD Light Management System provides a perfect balance of image color and contrast, light transmission and glare management. With unparalleled performance, Leopold’s Mark 5HD long-range tactical riflescopes have all of the optical precision features both snipers and long-range shooters require with user-friendly operation. Even better, they’re covered by Leupold’s Full Lifetime Guarantee.
Based in Norway, Kongsberg Defense and Aerospace, showcased their THeMIS UGV; an impressively capable robotic antitank and high mobility tracked unmanned ground vehicle (UVG). THeMIS consists of two parts—its tracked high mobility body is built by Milrem Robotics, and Kongsberg mounts its PROTECTOR RWS remotely operated weapon station on top.
The THeMIS system on display at AUSA 2018, although not limited by this particular selection of armament, was equipped with a .50 caliber and a Javelin missile launcher. This selection provides the warfighter a formidable combination of remotely fired antitank and heavy machine gun capabilities. Employing weaponized robotic platforms in high threat operations helps keep warfighters out of the line of fire. This is the undeniable future of warfare. As robotic weapons systems become more and more autonomous, with the potential of becoming “killer robots,” the Kongsberg systems all have a human operator in full control of firing the weapons system.
Ammunition and Ordnance
True Velocity, with headquarters in Garland, TX, currently offers 5.56 NATO, 7.62 NATO, .338 NORMA, .50 BMG and 12.7×108 ammunition in its proprietary composite case design. True Velocity’s composite case manufacturing utilizes scalable technology from 5.56 NATO through 14.5mm. This production technology allows rapid design modifications. True Velocity can also meet your packaging needs, including linked belts and individual rounds. Because they’re using composite munitions they can offer the casing in multiple colors to match the operating environment, thereby lowering the battle signature. They can further color-code the composite casing to match a projectile type and load making it distinctive and readily distinguishable from other ammunition. Remarkably, True Velocity loads all projectiles and powders with match-grade accuracy.
Unlike metallic-cased ammunition, the composite casing does not carry heat. This means the weapon remains cooler, and the spent casing is cool to the touch. It also provides substantial flash reduction because the gases exiting the bore are not superheated and therefore are below the flash point. True Velocity’s composite-cased ammo is easier to carry because it’s 30% lighter than brass casing ammunition of the same quantity and caliber. With casings that are 100% recyclable, the reduction in heavy metal byproducts also translates to reduced environmental impact. True Velocity’s “Lean is our culture” slogan is indeed a fact. True Velocity’s agile production technology reduces the required manufacturing footprint by 80% when compared to a traditional brass casing manufacturing facility.
Nammo Talley Inc.’s new M72 FFE (fire from enclosure) shoulder-fired munition is the most advanced M72 ever manufactured. Weighing in at less than 13 pounds with a carry length of 32 inches, the FFE’s counter mass propulsion system allows for over 8 shots per day from inside a room with single hearing protection; and reduces decibel output to a level that allows for one shot per day without hearing protection. The ability to fire from enclosed positions, combined with reduced noise and light signature, allows the Warfighter to maintain a covered and concealed position and significantly reduces the enemy’s ability to identify the munition’s point of origin.
The FFE is available in two warhead variants; Anti-Armor and Dual Purpose—both warheads are configured with dual safe fuses. The Dual Purpose warhead incorporates a self-discriminating fuse, which increases the munitions ability to defeat a wider variety of targets by detonating in either fast or delay mode based on target construction. This allows the Warfighter to confidently engage a multitude of targets due to the ability of the self-discriminating fuse to autonomously react to target material allowing for optimized delivery of warhead payload. The M72 FFE also incorporates the improved launcher, which features an enhanced in-line trigger mechanism, shoot-through bumpers, improved sling design and MIL-STD-1913 rail for mounting accessories.
In response to a U.S. military requirement for an individual (soldier-worn) gunshot detection system (IDGS), QinetiQ North America, headquartered in Waltham, MA, has developed a Shoulder-Worn Acoustic Targeting System they call SWATS®. With the goal of increasing soldier survivability, SWATS instantly detects, locates and alerts its wearer to the location and range of incoming (hostile) fire. The SWATS system also has a built-in compass, GPS and 9-axis inertial measurement system that compensate for body motion and enable its wearer to effectively navigate on the battlefield. Manufactured in the USA, SWATS works reliably in all combat environments to include mountainous, urban and open terrain.
Photonis Defense Inc., a registered NATO supplier, proudly presented their new 16mm Image Intensifier Tube. These night vision tubes are the lightest mass-produced tubes on the market and can be customized to fit particular requirements with choice of photocathode, phosphor screen, gating speed and power supply. The 16mm tube was designed to meet the SWaP requirements of the modern armies with a reduced size, weight and minimum power consumption all with state-of-the-art performance. Night Vision Devices (NVD), Inc. is the exclusive distributor and integrator for these lightweight and small form-factor night vision image intensifier tubes.
SAFRAN Optics 1, Inc. unveiled its “Stalker” handheld target location system. The Stalker resembles a binocular, but its outward look deceives its precision capabilities. The Stalker is a lightweight, handheld, day/night target acquisition system with an intuitive user-friendly interface and mode of operations. It is particularly useful for dismounted operations in weather extremes. Capable of locating targets in adverse environmental conditions, it offers three viewing modes: direct view optics for daytime operations; thermal imaging for all weather detection and situational awareness (day or night); and low light imaging for positive target identification. Equipped with multiple interfaces including RS-232 and USB for data exchange with other devices, it further offers “SMART” design image recording, image capture and live streaming. In addition to its optics, imaging and standard interface capabilities, the Stalker also possesses a digital magnetic compass with inclinometer, a laser rangefinder capable of ranges exceeding 5,000m in harsh environmental extremes and an integrated GPS solution. The Stalker seems to have covered every operational necessity in its bag of tricks.
Avon Protection’s new M53A1 air purifying respirator is indeed the breathing mask of choice for all missions. Designed to meet U.S. Government Joint Service General Purpose (USGPM) requirements, the M53A1 can be configured to function as a conventional negative pressure or air purifying respirator (APR), powered-air purifying respirator (PAPR), self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA), closed-circuit breathing apparatus (CCBA) and combination SCBA and PAPR systems. It comes in four sizes for custom fit to all face dimensions. It has five interchangeable silicone nose clips that provide improved comfort. It further sports a comfortable reflex seal with a low brow that assures helmet compatibility. It uses a polyurethane single-piece, scratch-resistant flexible panoramic eye lens that provides maximum field of view along with superior ballistic protection.
Optional outserts are available for added adverse environment protection. These outserts include clear, sunlight, blue-blocker, laser, mirrored and breaching. The mask employs a 6-point skullcap head harness with low profile, pre-adjusted brow straps. It can further be configured to provide an electronic pass-through for external radio use and with an internal microphone for enhanced audio performance. The M53A1 is available in single port or twin port models depending upon your specific operational needs.
Based in Portland, OR, and manufacturing their product line in the United States, Gerber Gear featured their Center-Drive Multi-Tool. The thoughtful one-thumb opening design allows for quick deployment of the three full size tools you depend on most: the pliers, the blades and the screwdriver. The Center-Drive has an extra-long 3.2-inch magnetic bit driver that opens to align with the center axis of the tool—giving you all the torque and rotation of a traditional screwdriver. The full-size blades conveniently replace your everyday pocketknife, and the full-size spring-loaded pliers feature an X-Channel Rail System to eliminate rattle and provide smooth opening. Streamlined to offer the right tools for optimal functionality, the Center-Drive’s 12-piece Bit Kit consists of a variety of screwdriver tip sizes and shapes that fit most standard hex and screw heads. This tool is a must for everyone’s tactical field kit.
Information Management and Training Systems
NCR Government Systems, LLC, headquartered in Atlanta, GA, has business offices in 126 countries around the world. NCR showcased their Mperium™ software as a powerful solution enabler of Point of Service and Point of Sales for small to medium site installations. Mperium provides a building block for rapid application development that includes transaction processing, data security, 508 compliant user interface available in multiple languages, XML configuration, enterprise dashboard for management and custom reporting. Integration with third-party services and peripheral devices is a standard for NCR products and Mperium is no exception. Using this software as a base, customers can rapidly build kiosk and counter solutions that integrate easily with their existing operations and systems with significantly reduced software development costs.
Imagine the theater operation centers all showing the same real-time battle space information in an integrated, easily understood format that streamlines battle force management. Such a capability now exists. Built on Unity 3D™, a video-gaming platform known for its ease of use and scalability, LinQuest Corporation’s cloud-based 3DataLinQ provides real-time, multi-domain, integrated command and control (MDC2). 3DataLinQ is a 3-dimensional, avatar-based, virtual environment (much like a collaborative, first-person-shooter game but for multi-domain operations) providing the right data, intuitively displayed at the right time, so friendly forces can dynamically react to rapidly changing environments. The system works on PCs/laptops, mobile devices and classified environments.
Meggitt Training Systems of Suwanee, GA, is a leading provider of integrated live-fire and virtual weapons training products and services for armed forces and law enforcement. The FATS® 100MIL is the foundation for the U.S. Army’s Engagement Skills Trainer II program of record, while Meggitt’s new, 300-degree FATS 300MIL, delivers unequalled realism through a fully immersive experience.
Immersion is provided via five 150×84-inch flat screens arranged in a hexagonal format, 5.1 audio, plus sounds in any direction can be added by the operator for increased realism. The system utilizes ultra-short-throw projectors that allow the trainee unprecedented distance to the entity being engaged, all while maintaining a smaller footprint than rear-projection systems. In recent months, Meggitt has created three domestic regional hubs featuring the FATS 300LE for law enforcement applications. Both the FATS 100MIL and 300MIL interface with a variety of firearms, including Meggitt’s wireless BlueFire® weapons.
And so ends our snapshot of AUSA 2018. Held every October in Washington, DC, the AUSA Annual Meeting is the largest land power exposition and professional development forum in North America. The Annual Meeting consists of informative presentations, panel discussions on pertinent military and national security subjects, workshops and important AUSA business meetings. It’s the “go to” expo for showcasing new products and technology, buying and selling, as well as industry networking opportunities. Information on AUSA 2019 can be found at
AUSA 2018 Show Master Information
Walter E. Washington Convention Center
801 Mount Vernon Place NW
Washington, DC 20001
Conference & Event Center Manager
Conference & Event Center Coordinator
October 14–16, 2019
The Association of the United States Army (AUSA) Annual Meeting is the largest landpower exposition and professional development forum in North America, which takes place over three days. The Annual Meeting’s focus is to highlight the capabilities of Army organizations and present a wide range of industry products and services. The Meeting consists of informative presentations, panel discussions on pertinent military and national security subjects, workshops and important AUSA business meetings. There will be dozens of professional development events, seminars and presentations.
For civilian attendees, business dress is recommended, although business casual is seen frequently at the show. Military personnel should be in duty uniform.
Hotel and Parking Hints
It is best to find hotels nearby the Convention Center, as parking fees in Washington, DC are very expensive. Parking in the area is very limited.
Power & Plug Types
Power: 120 V / 60 Hz
Plug: Type A: 2-pin plug or Type B: grounded 3-prong plug
There are none at this time.
Generally people are very polite and helpful. It is customary to greet people with a right-handed hand shake. America is a multilingual, multireligious nation.
Tipping is normally 15%–20% for restaurants and services in the United States.
The U.S. Dollar is the currency. The currency code for dollars is USD, and the currency symbol is $. For current exchange rates, please visit: xe.com.
The Walter E. Washington Convention Center is in close proximity to three airports:
- Reagan National Airport (5.7 miles)
- Dulles International Airport (28.1 miles)
- Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (32 miles)
The D.C. Metro (wmata.com) or the D.C. Circulator (dccirculator.com) is the best way to get to the Center. But for those who wish to drive a rental car, left-hand drive cars are used in the U.S., driving on the right side of the road. UK style drivers may have to adapt. Garmin in particular has good GPS mapping in their U.S. package. A driver’s license is frequently required for rental cars.
Things to See
Within a half mile to 5 miles of the Convention Center are the International Spy Museum, the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum and the Historical Society of Washington, DC. Also of interest are the National Archives Museum, Library of Congress and Ford’s Theater. There are many tour companies operating in the area as well.
Try visittheusa.com for a good resource for visiting. The U.S. is a country of 50 states covering a vast area of North America, with Alaska in the northwest and Hawaii extending the nation’s presence into the Pacific Ocean. Major Atlantic Coast cities are New York, a global finance and culture center, and the nation’s capitol Washington, DC.